Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • TwinsDaily Video: How Much Pitching Can The Twins Afford?



    TwinsDaily Proudly Presents…
    The 2014 Officially Unauthorized Minnesota Twins Offseason Video Tutorial
    Today’s Lesson: Just How Much Pitching Can The Minnesota Twins Afford?

    Summer is giving way to winter and the baseball season is turning to the baseball offseason, when Major League teams rain money on free agents. The Twins will enter the offseason with a payroll of $59 million dollars, which means they should have as much as $25-$30 million to spend this offseason.

    There is plenty they could buy with that money. , especially when one considers the Twins finished the regular season with the WORST starting pitching rotation in MLB. So what can $25-30M buy on the starting pitching free agent market? Let’s look at last year’s free agents and find out.

    Last year, the market had a clear ace – Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke. The closest this year’s market has to an ace might be Masahiro Tanaka, an ace from Japan that might be joining the MLB ranks. Greinke was signed by the Dodgers for almost $25 million per year for 6 years, so $25 million gets approximately ONE Ace.

    Five other pitchers signed deals that topped $10 million per year. The number of guaranteed years in those contracts varied in length, basically being inversely proportional to the pitchers age, unless you had Dan Haren’s hip. Only two of those pitchers had excellent years - though they all pitched plenty of innings.
    After that group there was a significant drop to several different groups of pitchers. For instance, there were the end of the rotation innings eaters who made $5-7 million per year. Three guys filled that role, including Kevin Correia who was the only one of the three that had anything resembling a good year and actually performed better than some of the $10 million guys.

    Because pitching was so expensive, many GMs tried to catch lighting in a bottle by signing players with injury concerns. Unfortunately, most of them pitched like – surprise – they were hurt. Five players signed deals between 4 and 8 million dollars, most for just one year, (including the Twins signing Mike Pelfrey). Of the five, only Cubs pickup Scott Feldman was less than terrible.

    General Managers had significantly better luck gambling on healthier guys with upside but question marks. Four such pitchers signed for less than $5 million. Dice-K flamed out, but Carlos Villanueva was serviceable in dual roles. The third, Bartolo Colon, led his Athletics to the postseason. So did the fourth.

    So last year, $25-30 million would have bought an ace, two starting pitchers who were among the best in the market, or nearly a whole rotation of more questionable guys.

    What will it buy this year? Well, for specific names and estimated contracts, you might want to invest in the 2013 Offseason GM Handbook, which is on sale for just $4.95. And of course, check out Twins Daily’s stories and forums for all the Twins offseason analysis.
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      That was really cool.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      BB players are like other collectibles/investments--buy quality.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      I'd like to think they can atleast sign a guy like Colby Lewis & trade for a flier on Brett Anderson.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      What I got out of this summary is that of all the free agent pitchers signed last year Correia was among the top six. This despite the fact that at least a dozen of these guys got more money per year than he did. This tends to highlight the problem with free agents. Most really aren't very good, whether it is injuries, age or other reasons. But because everyone needs pitchers GM's are willing to gamble money and years even though good results aren't all that likely.

      The best results for the money, were Colon and Liriano and even Liriano had a 2 year offer for $7 mil a year till he hurt himself over the winter. It almost looks like you have just as good a chance of getting a good pitcher(if you do your research and get lucky) of digging around in the bargain bin as spending $10 mil a year on multiple year contracts for "2nd tier" free agents.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
      What I got out of this summary is that of all the free agent pitchers signed last year Correia was among the top six. This despite the fact that at least a dozen of these guys got more money per year than he did. This tends to highlight the problem with free agents. Most really aren't very good, whether it is injuries, age or other reasons. But because everyone needs pitchers GM's are willing to gamble money and years even though good results aren't all that likely.

      The best results for the money, were Colon and Liriano and even Liriano had a 2 year offer for $7 mil a year till he hurt himself over the winter. It almost looks like you have just as good a chance of getting a good pitcher(if you do your research and get lucky) of digging around in the bargain bin as spending $10 mil a year on multiple year contracts for "2nd tier" free agents.
      I agree.. Free agency isn't about signing talent. It's about getting lucky and hoping the players don't age quickly.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
      The best results for the money, were Colon and Liriano and even Liriano had a 2 year offer for $7 mil a year till he hurt himself over the winter. It almost looks like you have just as good a chance of getting a good pitcher(if you do your research and get lucky) of digging around in the bargain bin as spending $10 mil a year on multiple year contracts for "2nd tier" free agents.
      That's true to an extent, but the more expensive guys are more expensive for a reason. They are more highly sought. Players get paid based on production, and right now the Twins could stand to add some guys that have proven they can produce.
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
      What I got out of this summary is that of all the free agent pitchers signed last year Correia was among the top six. This despite the fact that at least a dozen of these guys got more money per year than he did. This tends to highlight the problem with free agents. Most really aren't very good, whether it is injuries, age or other reasons. But because everyone needs pitchers GM's are willing to gamble money and years even though good results aren't all that likely.

      The best results for the money, were Colon and Liriano and even Liriano had a 2 year offer for $7 mil a year till he hurt himself over the winter. It almost looks like you have just as good a chance of getting a good pitcher(if you do your research and get lucky) of digging around in the bargain bin as spending $10 mil a year on multiple year contracts for "2nd tier" free agents.
      i'm pretty sure this is overstated a bit. Anyone care to do an analysis of the average ERA & IP for greinke vs 8-figure guys vs the rest?
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      lol ,,, Little Sisters of the Poor?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Clever video. I like it.

      Understanding that it's an overgeneralization, it just seems to me that the FA pitching market has become populated by two groups: 1) the superstars getting perhaps their one career opportunity to really cash in by hitting the market, and 2) pitchers with enough flaws that their current team did not see them as worthy of being retained by offering a fair multi-year deal.

      The group in between, reliable, productive starting pitchers, simply is not reaching the market because teams are locking those guys up with extensions as soon as they demonstrate their quality.

      Maybe the Offseason GM Handbook will demonstrate that I'm wrong.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Good stuff, but for once I'd prefer this team go after quality not quantity.

      I'm curious though, by all accounts the Twins were below budget this past year, so where is the $30 million budget coming from? To get back to the expected Target Field payroll, they should have over $40 million to spend should they so choose. Not that they are likely to.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Regardless of how much the Twins have to spend, there's a finite number of pitchers on the market. I suspect that the Twins will try to sign a 2nd tier pitcher and add a couple more lottery tickets.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      So considering that FA is a crapshoot, outside of the elite guys, should the Twins go after 3-5 guys in the bargain bin and see who turns out to be our Liriano or Feldman? Or should we go all in on a Tanaka, Garza or Santana?
    1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
      Joe A. Preusser -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      So considering that FA is a crapshoot, outside of the elite guys, should the Twins go after 3-5 guys in the bargain bin and see who turns out to be our Liriano or Feldman? Or should we go all in on a Tanaka, Garza or Santana?
      I can get on board with about anyone other than Garza.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      So considering that FA is a crapshoot, outside of the elite guys, should the Twins go after 3-5 guys in the bargain bin and see who turns out to be our Liriano or Feldman? Or should we go all in on a Tanaka, Garza or Santana?
      The Twins have plenty of budget and plenty of rotation spots to fill, they can go do both.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      That was cool. Nice presentation.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Tanaka and Kazmir.
      Maybe Josh Johnson if the price isn't too steep, perhaps heavy on incentives for innings pitched.

      That would eat up that $40 million pretty quick, but we'd have a chance to win some games next year if an offense shows up.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Would prefer Johnson and Lincecum(I know he will have a qualifying offer), but the Twins need quality(Tanaka would be fine also and one lottery pick)
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Very cool presentation, thanks John.

      Going after the bargain bin doesn't significantly improve the rotation over what the Twins had last season. I'm with Old Goat, 40 mil has the potential to buy a competetive ball club, but status quo buys the more of the same.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      First off pretty cool video.

      I think you've made an error though in your choice of words. You said "The Twins could have up to $25-$30 million dollars to spend...." That is just not true. They will have at a minimum that much. You also have to consider that they will be recieving another $25-$30 million in additional revenue via MLB. Then, as someone stated above they weren't at their limit last season either. Forbes estimated their 2012 revenue (2013 isn't out yet that I know of) at $214 million. That likely decreased a bit in 2013 but if you use the Twins 52% rule the payroll could have been as high as perhaps $100 million in 2013. When you add it all up I think it would be more accurate to say the Twins could have up to $70 million dollars. It obviously depends on where their revenue really stands at and how the Twins handle the new money being distributed this season, but when you're using the words "up to" you're talking about the most money a team can spend and any way you cut it that will be more than $25-$30 million.

      There were eleven FA starting pitchers signed for the 2013 season that qualified for the ERA title and posted better ERA's than Correia. Five posted sub-3.00 ERA's and another three of those posted sub-3.50 ERA's. R.A. Dickey had an ERA almost identical to Correia's.

      Failure certainly happened and when it did it came in 3 varieties. Just poor pitching, Dempster, Haren, Jackson, Blanton, Pelfrey and Saunders fall into this catagory; players with injuries, Baker, McCarthy, Marcum, Marquis; and fliers that didn't succeed like Erik Bedard, Derek Lowe, Roy Oswalt, Rich Harden, etc...
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      That's true to an extent, but the more expensive guys are more expensive for a reason. They are more highly sought. Players get paid based on production, and right now the Twins could stand to add some guys that have proven they can produce.
      Actually, I tend to agree with this statement. There are however, 2 problems associated with this. The first is that, there are only a few guys who have the kind of production that really justifies interest, and that really drives up the price. The 2nd is that the next tier really gets expensive as well and sometimes the production doesn't really match with the price.

      Clearly, the Twins will likely end up spending in this area this coming off-season and while I won't complain if they do, it is very likely the Twins will end up with someone whose production will probably be no better than Correia was this year. A good potential example of this is Hughes from the Yankees. Even though he was really no better and perhaps worse than Correia was this year, he is going to command much more than Correia did. Hughes has a big fastball, some good stuff, is relatively young and has a bit of a track record of success. Still, except for one year, his record as a starter is that of a back of the rotation guy.


      I really don't know don't know what he will get, perhaps 3 years at $12 mil per year, but it could be more than that. I would be surprised if it is less. The problem is while he has flashed the stuff of a top of rotation guy, the most likely outcome is Correia like production. Because, that is actually what he has done through most of his career. Again, I won't be upset if the Twins get him or someone like him, but expecting something really good out of someone who has seldom produced at that level, is setting yourself up for disappointment.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.